Fall to Winter

In North Idaho, Fall means one thing… Winter is coming!

Our days are filled with getting the dogs ready for cold/bitter days. We do that, by first getting about five cords of wood cut and stacked. Our indoor kennel includes a large wood-burning stove. The cement floors are cold during winter, so as soon as the snow flies, each indoor kennel will be filled with wood shavings. Their water is indoors, so freezing is not an issue. We’re stocking up with wood shavings now. We also have two large electric heaters hanging from the ceiling on the kennel. Often we find that the dogs feel too warm during the winter, and go outside to lay on the frozen cement in their outdoor runs! Labradors love the cold.

We found our first year here, that the dogs love to lie on the snow, but it causes them to burn calories quickly. This is the time of year we start to increase their food, putting a little more weight on them, so that they go through the winter without losing weight.

So, while the dogs are soaking up the beautiful fall sunshine, and growing their winter coats, we are busy thinking winter, and preparing the dogs and kennel for it!

Enjoy this fall image from the area that I took a few days ago. It’s beautiful here in the fall:

Sacred Duty

We have been asked how we decide on homes for the dogs we place. The answer is simple. We believe the right home exists for every dog, and the right dog exists for every responsible person, but not all dogs and people are right for each other. It is our responsibility to select wisely, and that is where experience and God come in. I trust that we will be sent people we need to speak to, but that doesn’t mean I’m being sent people who need a dog! My husband tells me I spend more time talking people out of a dog than into a dog. I think he’s right!

We have been blessed with some of the best placements we could have prayed for, and the reason, is that we ask hard questions, make hard observations, and critically evaluate the dogs in question. I can not count the number of calls I have received from prior placements, telling me that the dog died of old age, that it was treasured, and provided a family with a life filled with love. At that point we know we are blessed. We have had families who, in 38 years in this, have as many as three dogs from us pass away well in their senior years. My heart is full when I hear their stories, even if through grief.

Our placement decisions are a sacred duty!

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Job 12:7

“But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you; And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you.”

Dogs can tell you a lot about people. We watch people and dogs together. Nothing is set in stone until an animal demonstrates to me that these are the people for them!

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Psalm50:10-11

“For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, And everything that moves in the field is Mine.”

We’re responsible for those things that are precious to their creator!

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We love these creatures we have been trusted with, and we are tasked to be sure the arms we place them in will care for and love them. That is our criteria.

Mom always said…

DON’T RUN WITH STICKS IN YOUR MOUTH!!!

Luna demonstrated this month, how a dog can impale themselves on a stick. For now, that’s what we think happened. She showed up in the morning with facial swelling, and the Vet found a puncture wound in the back of her mouth where the muzzle meets the upper jaw, behind the last pre-molar. It’s still possible that this is really a tooth root abscess, but the wound he found was bloody (not pus filled), and pretty large. It seems that she punctured it with a stick (that we never found). Antibiotics have taken care of it… thankfully!  Picture three is two days after antibiotics. This shows you how fast it can happen, and, with treatment, how fast it can heal.

Sudden swelling on the left side of her face.
A few hours on antibiotics
Much better after 24 hours on antibiotics.
Feeling much better!
A few days on antibiotics, and she was feeling great!

Rose’s TPLO 13 weeks

The snow has melted, and we’re well into spring activities.  Rose is healing well.  She has had it with months of rest.  As a puppy, all she wants to do is play and run.  But, her exercise is quite limited and always monitored for another few weeks.  As you can see, she puts good weight on the knee.  We’re still dealing with a bit of tendonitis in that hock, but it should work out with time and more movement with exercise.

Rose’s TPLO Recovery Week 6

Today is the big day!  Rose had her 6 week checkup.  She had an x-ray, which her surgeon states looks good.  Her healing is normal.  I discussed with him the lateral wobble of her knee, and he believes it may be a little tendonitis.  She may now have three 15 minute walks/day.  As stated previously, she is increasingly difficult to entertain.  She is inventing ways to chew up anything that is stationary in her box.   She wants to play with her sister so very badly.  It will be a very long time until she is allowed to do that.

This is Rose waiting to see her vet.

Rose’s TPLO Recovery week 5

Rose continues to improve.  I am noticing a lateral rotation to her knee when she walks.  I suspect it has to do with muscle atrophy.  She is so tired of the inactivity.   It’s becoming increasingly difficult to entertain her.   Every so often I cheat and put her on the flexi leash to let her move out a bit without running or jumping (which she is not permitted to do).

Rose’s TPLO Recovery Week 4

We’re at the beginning of week four.  This has been the week that marks Rose’s breaking point.  She is so done with inactivity.  We’ve bought chew toys, chew bones, real bones, distraction toys… you name it.  Her attention span is almost nil.  She has decided to take her frustration out on the carpet she is on, chewing the corner nicely.  We take Rose everywhere we go, so as to give her new things to look at, people to see, and so that we can monitor her activities.  She has been increased to one 10 minute slow walk each day, which she loves.  She continues to put more weight on the affected leg.   This was taken on  a trip to set up 6000 Easter eggs stuffed with candy for local children.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Rose’s TPLO Recovery Week 3

As Rose begins her third week of recovery, she continues to improve.  She saw her veterinarian and he was pleased with her recovery.  She may now walk five minutes/day on leash (slow walk).  She still must potty on leash to prevent her from running or jumping. This was her first walk.  Please forgive me holding the camera the wrong way!

Rose’s TPLO Recovery Week 2

As we begin the second week (of six where she is not permitted to walk except to potty) we do all we can to keep her entertained.  She managed to chew her inflatable collar and puncture it., but we believe her wound is healed enough now to tolerate the small amount of licking she does.  She is beginning to grow coat on her leg, and the growing fur must itch.  When we take her out to potty, she puts some weight on her foot, but not so much as to worry us.  The veterinarian stated that it was fine to put weight on the foot as she will tolerate it, but she is still on restriction.  She is not permitted to go on a walk or play with other dogs.  She is still on “bedrest”.

We take her on car rides with us, so that her scenery changes, and so that she always has company with her.  She enjoys her rides, and is usually exhausted once we come home:

Today (4/3/17) we had a nice sunny day (the snow has just melted), so I took her outside to just sit in the sun and suck up a bit of warm sunshine.  She enjoyed it a great deal.

Rose’s TPLO Recovery Day 7

Rose’s sutures are evidently starting to itch, and she is licking her knee.  That has earned her the “cone of shame” for awhile, to keep her off of the sutures, until she’s at the 10-14 day mark, when the wound is likely healed.

She continues to be obviously bored, and at times rocks back and forth on her back.  We know she’s tired of being in the same place, not allowed to walk about or play.   This is very hard for a 8 month old puppy.  It’s not natural for them to stay put for weeks on end.  Yet, she is on strict orders by her surgeon to have strict “crate rest”, and not be allowed to go out for any reason other than to go potty, and that must be on leash.  We’re trying to find ways to resolve her boredom.  I bring her up on the couch with me to snuggle, but she tires easily of that too.  Nothing holds her attention for very long.

Boredom: